I’m not an Affiliate Marketer.
But I must be a spammer.
Or I’m just a human making mistakes trying to skirt around the rules of the system.
I made some mistakes and I knew I was playing in a risky place.
And I got burned.
I love WordPress, and I love Mailchimp. Best part? They play so well together.
However I put all my personal projects, experiments, and my business through one mailchimp account. That’s a mistake. and the fatal error I made. When one list has issues mailchimp puts your whole account in “chimp jail.”
I should have had multiple accounts, one for testing (spamming?), one for business, and one for personal blogs like this one and our family travel blog. However having multiple accounts is also against Mailchimp’s Terms.
So a while back I wanted to tell my friends about our new travel blog. Since Gmail has a 500 emails (a day) limit and I wanted to email around 2,000 people I knew I should turn to a service.
I instantly went to Mailchimp.
And wouldn’t you know it I had a ton of old email addresses in my Rolodex (Google Contacts) and they bounced worse than kids with cotton candy in a bounce house.
So my account was suspended. I begged for the Chimp’s mercy (aka explained I won’t do this again) and they re-instated my account.
We’ve been blogging and using the Auto Chimp plugin which sends a new campaign for each blog post. Super simple and works really well to keep our list informed of what was going on with our family.
Then time moved on, I changed continents, twice.
And I forgot my lessons.
However when some cool stuff happened in the business and I started a new email list I wanted to invite my connections that I’ve made over the years. Let them know about the new activity and see if we can add them to the list.
So I turned to Mailchimp, and let ’em fly.
This time I used a service to clean up the bad emails and it worked really well.
However I was being cheeky with my audience and the subject line was “Invitation to Unsubscribe!” I had multiple calls to action within the email asking them to unsubscribe.
I was not the only one who thought it was great, I received over a dozen responses with most people saying they read it top to bottom just because it was so well written and they rarely read marketing messages.
But the unsubscribe rate was high, incredibly high. And the bounce rate was up there too.
So they put my account under review. And once again I groveled to the Chimp and explained that I wouldn’t do it again. They made me remove that list before I could send our normal blog post updates again.
They informed me that I need to email these people from gmail inviting them to subscribe through a double opt in.
Ug, that’s not fun. And at 500 a day that’s take a while (I send ~100 emails a day as it is)
So forget it, I still had my family’s blog hooked up to the account, and I was out of “chimp jail” since I removed the bad list(s) so we were good.
But what I didn’t realize was in the 7 days that the above was going on my family blog had been targeted with a bunch of spam form completions. And yes I had it set to single opt in, meaning someone completing the form would not have to click on a link in an email to be subscribed (thus verifying their email address)
I’ve had this set this way for almost 6 months.
Never had a single spam sign up.
Never thought about it again.
Then on Thursday when my wife posted a Throw Back Thursday blog post, we had a 50% bounce rate and the account was put in “chimp jail” again.
I begged for forgiveness… asked them to look at all of the bounces and realize that these addresses all signed up within the last 7 days and were obviously spam (Louis Vuitton Purse is NO ONE’s last name!)
The Mailchimp Abuse team did look deeper, they looked at my account track record and realized I have been an “abuser” and thus they asked me to use another Email service provider.
And that, kids, is how I got
Banned from Mailchimp!
Is that even possible? Would Mailchimp ban one of their fans who yes wears their t-shirts?
So what’s a digital marketer to do?
Yes I could create more mailchimp accounts (I have) and yes I will continue to use mailchimp.
But I wanted to be free from their tyranny.
And so yeah I could have done aweber or constant contact but for too long I’ve been singing the praises of Mailchimp for me to be happy with one of those services.
Instead I’m using a wordpress plugin called Mailpoet, mixed with Amazon’s SES platform for deliverability. I finally feel in control of my lists again.
Oh and the best part? Mailpoet has some sweet templates, and lets you control the design of the automatic newsletter, whereas AutoChimp did not have a way to pick a design.
So in the end, Thanks Mailchimp, the banning hurt for a couple of weeks but I’m back in a better spot now!
What about you? Have you been mailchimp banned? Have you found a better solution than Mailchimp?